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I have a couple of windows pc's and a mac at home and don't like the idea that i have to have accounts on all the computer for each user at home. Is there a simple domain, no tech-net subscription for win server, that I can put my windows pc's (Win7, win8, WinRT), and mac (OSX) on? I'm cool with running some sort of *nix as I have a plug pc that is not being used at the moment. I'm not looking for the answer "Buy windows serer". I would write a custom GINA for my windows PC's before I do that...

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I'm not sure from the server side of things, but I do know from the Windows side of things you need to have Pro or above in order to connect to a domain, Home and Home Premium versions will not work. – Taegost Jul 1 '13 at 14:34
@Taegost That is a very important thing to mention. Yes, both versions of windows are pro. (I wanted the extra license for a vm just in case, though ill never use it) – QueueHammer Jul 1 '13 at 15:03

You should look into Windows Home Server 2011. It is based off of Windows Server 2008R2 and can do all of what you're looking for including more; file sharing server, nightly incremental backups of your computers.

I know that you said that you're not looking for buying a Windows Server, but this is only $50 and is packed with a lot of features. (

This would probably be a good method. You would just want to make sure that your versions of windows support joining a domain. Ie. Windows 7 Home doesn't support joining a domain.

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I would like to say that I agree that $50 is not unreasonable, to protect this answer from down votes. – QueueHammer Jul 1 '13 at 14:58
People say that backups is not important, but I have been in more situations than not where this has saved me or a family member. It's also great if you're wanting to upgrade a platter to SSD with little to no downtime. I recently upgraded my wife's laptop to a SSD/HDD hybrid because she was complaining that it was slow. It allowed me to restore her laptop from the latest backup and zero data loss. I do not use the Domain Controller portion of the server as I do not have a real specific need. – kobaltz Jul 1 '13 at 15:41

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